Events Archive

Retirement Reception | Susan Whitbourne

Thursday, May 4, 2017 4:00pm


Commonwealth College Event Room

You are cordially invited to a reception to honor and celebrate the contributions of Professor Susan Whitbourne to our UMass community. After 33 years at UMass, Susan will be retiring at the end of this semester. Susan has had a remarkable tenure in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and at UMass. She has been a member of three divisions within the department: Social and Personality, Clinical, and Developmental Science, has graduated 15 Ph.D. students, and authored over 160 scholarly articles, chapters, and books.

Cognitive Brown Bag | Jeffery Durbin and Dimitris Stergiedis

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 12:00pm


Tobin 521B

Jeffery Durbin and Dimitris Stergiedis, UMass students, will present their first year project reports.

Presenter: Jeffery Durbin

Tile: Characterizing the Visuospatial Sketchpad: Rehearsal and Retrieval in Visual Short-Term Memory

Abstract: Sternberg’s (1966) classic short-term memory task produces apattern of reaction times (RTs) suggestive of serial exhaustive search through memory when subjects are given ample time to encode the memory set items and establish a rehearsal sequence. However, if the memory set items are presented quickly, RTs and accuracy reveal a parallel search process with a strong recency gradient (i.e., recently studied items are recognized more quickly and accurately). 

These phenomena have been well described for verbal material, but few studies have addressed the dynamics of rehearsal and search for purely visuospatial information and no studies have examined RTs following slow sequential presentation of the memory set. To address whether sequential rehearsal occurs for visuospatial information, we developed a novel visuospatial short-term memory task in which participants saw a sequence of colored dots (500 ms per dot) along a horizontal line and, after a brief delay (500 ms mask), gave a binary “old” / “new” response to a single test item. We compared four versions of the task, which varied in how similar the lures were to the items in the study sequence: lures were either a recombination of a previously viewed color and location (both old), a new color in an old location (new color), an old color in a new location (new location), or a new color in a new location (both new). Neither RTs nor accuracy revealed a pattern indicative of serial search in any of these conditions, suggesting a lack of sequential rehearsal. A recency gradient was observed for conditions in which color information was necessary (new color, both old), with negligible set size effects across the gradient. In contrast, the recency gradient was reduced for conditions where location information could serve as the sole dimension of evaluation (new location, both new), and set size effects were seen at each level of recency. These findings suggest that color information suffers from strong retroactive interference such that previous color representations are “overwritten,” whereas location representations are blurred with each presentation, as if the location information has been “averaged.”

We Celebrate Adoption

Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:00pm


Campus Center Room 168, 1 Campus Way, Amherst, MA 01003

We will explore various adoption related topics in an Open House forum which include:

  • Foster care
  • Mental health
  • Loss and adoption
  • International and domestic adoption
  • Stigma
  • Race, ethnicity, and identity
  • Law and adoption

Light refreshments will be served

PBS Undergraduate Research Symposium

Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:00pm


Tobin 4th floor lobby and breezeway

Join us for our 3rd annual PBS Undergraduate Research Symposium which will showcase the research of our students!

Refreshments will be served.

All are welcome!

Social Brown Bag | Byron Zamboanga PhD

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12:00pm


Tobin 423

Byron Zamboanga PhD, Professor of Psychology at Smith College, will present a talk entitled Drinking Games Among College Students: What Do We Know So Far?

Dr. Zamboanga conducts research on culture and alcohol use. To learn more about his work, please visit

All are welcome!

The 2016-2017 Social Brown Bag Committee
Amy Newberg, Nima Orazani, and Erik Gray

Being an Effective Ally: Understanding Ally Development and Selecting Allied Action

Friday, April 21, 2017 12:00pm


Tobin 423

Given recent increases in targeting of marginalized groups, there has been an accompanying increase in motivation to be effective allies to members of these groups. However, becoming an effective ally can be a daunting and intimidating task. In this talk, Alissa Hochman and LG Rollins, from UMass Boston, will discuss what it means to be an ally from both a research and practical perspective. They will discuss research on ally development and provide practical guidance on concrete actions that those interested in allyship can take. Individuals with all levels of previous engagement in social activism are encouraged to attend.